Previews: THE LAFAYETTE THEATER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS! at Lafayette Theater, Suffern

The performance will take place on Saturday, March 2  7:30 PM.

By: Feb. 24, 2024
Previews: THE LAFAYETTE THEATER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS! at Lafayette Theater, Suffern
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How do you celebrate the 100th birthday of a spectacular theater that has meant so much, to so many, for so long?  

Previews: THE LAFAYETTE THEATER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS! at Lafayette Theater, Suffern The Lafayette Theater in Suffern is hands down one of America’s most beautiful theaters.  It was named one of the "10 Great Places to Revel in Cinematic Grandeur" by USA Today – alongside such famous venues as New York City's Ziegfeld Theatre and Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

In the early part of the 20th century up until the 1940s, spectacular movie palaces cropped up all around the country. These large, elaborately decorated movie theaters were more than just movie houses, they were places of magic – places where miracles happened.  As the American film evolved as an art form, so did the sanctuaries that housed them.  Frequently these spaces were often designed with inspiration from the French Baroque, High Gothic, Italian Renaissance, or even Egyptian Revival.  They were designed with an eye to the opulent and their goal was to transport the audience far from their ordinary everyday life into a magical other world.

However, over time, the advent of television and the gradual migration of the masses out of urban centers, many of the nation’s most spectacular movie palaces were demolished or left to decay.

Previews: THE LAFAYETTE THEATER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS! at Lafayette Theater, Suffern

That is what makes this upcoming weekend so incredibly special - the Lafayette Theater in Suffern is turning 100 years old!   So how do you celebrate the centennial of a movie palace?    With a celebration of 100 years of Hollywood! 

The Lafayette will ring in its centennial with a very special performance of Neil Berg's 100 Years of Hollywood – musical revue of Hollywood’s most popular and memorable hits.  Neil Berg is a native son of Rockland County and his show recreates the greatest moments from classic films and movie musicals featuring the actual stars of hit Broadway shows such as The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, CATS, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Wonderful Town.  Richard Todd Adams, Rita Harvey, Danny Zolli, Carter Calvert, and Cartreze Tucker will light up the stage with songs from films such as: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Casablanca, Wizard of Oz, Goldfinger, Moulin Rouge, A Star is Born, Titanic, Dreamgirls, New York New York and many more.  Rockland's own Sammi Quinn and Suffern-born lead singer for the rock band Juice, Ben Stevens round out the stellar cast.

Previews: THE LAFAYETTE THEATER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS! at Lafayette Theater, Suffern

For an amazing 100 years, the Lafayette Theatre has been more than just a movie house.  It has provided generations of families with the opportunity to take a break from the stresses of everyday life with popular first run and family entertainment.  On a community level, it has been a gathering place, bringing audiences together under a common social bond.   Lafayette has also offered moviegoers a window into our collective cultural past - not just through classic films but through the magic of the space itself.   The auditorium provides viewers with a firsthand look into the decorative designs of the past, to experience the visual beauty of decorative finishes of painting, gilding, millwork, and ornamental plaster in an exciting and intimate way.  

Previews: THE LAFAYETTE THEATER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS! at Lafayette Theater, Suffern

All of these elements combine to transport the audience back to the period of time of grandeur and elegance of the theater, to witness firsthand the beauty and architectural wonder of a bygone era.

The Lafayette opened its doors in 1924 with the silent film classic Scaramouche followed by the revolutionary docu-drama Nanook of the North which depicted the harsh lives of the indigenous Inuit people of Canada's northern Quebec region.  

For decades the Lafayette has been the home of family entertainment.   Wurlitzer Opus 2095 organ that currently graces the theater originally left the Wurlitzer factory on January 31, 1931.  It has had various home over the last 90 years (including Carnegie Hall!) before finding a permanent home at the Lafayette.

Previews: THE LAFAYETTE THEATER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS! at Lafayette Theater, Suffern

The organ, which is owned and maintained by the New York Theatre Organ Society (NYTOS), is played every Friday and Saturday night, and is a favorite feature before the Big Screen Classics presentations on Saturday mornings.

In the late 1990s, when the Lafayette's future was in doubt, Robert Benmosche, Suffern resident and chairman of MetLife Insurance (later chairman of AIG), saved the theater by purchasing the property and effecting the necessary repairs to the roof and exterior to save the building from further deterioration.

Previews: THE LAFAYETTE THEATER CELEBRATES 100 YEARS! at Lafayette Theater, Suffern
Lafayette Owner/operator Ari Benmosche (c) Organist Dave Kopp (L) Village  Historian Craig Long (R)

In 2013, Benmoche’s son, Ari and his company JACA Entertainment have operated the theater and have succeeded in the herculean task of continuing to run it in its true original form, as a single screen movie theater.

This weekend there will only be one place to be in Rockland County and that will be the Lafayette Theater!   If you are a frequent visitor to the theater, we will see you there on Saturday!   If you have never visited the Lafayette, there have never been a better reason to come!  We guarantee you (as Bogie said in Casablanca) it will be “the beginning of a beautiful friendship!”

Tickets are on sale now, but they are nearly sold out, so don’t wait.

Neil Berg's 100 Years of Hollywood

Saturday, March 2  7:30 PM

Lafayette Theater

Suffern, NY

https://lafayettetheatersuffern.com/lafayette-live




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